Diana Taylor, the longtime main squeeze of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is looking to raise a further $2 million for the cash-strapped Hudson River Park. Taylor hopes to help finance the 550-acre waterfront park with a star-studded gala this evening, which will include an auction hosted by actor Hugh Jackman.
But even if Taylor meets her goal, the park will still be millions of dollars short, board members of the Friends of Hudson River Park, the trust chaired by Taylor, told the Wall Street Journal. Hurricane Sandy caused $30 million in damage at the park, and the trust is running a $7 million deficit, according to the newspaper.
“We need people to realize the park is internally funded,” Taylor told the newspaper. “[People] look around and say, ‘Of course it’s getting money from the government,’ but we’re not. It has to be funded by the people who can afford it, frankly. And it’s an effort. And we’re going to get there.”
Geoffrey Croft, president of the nonprofit group NYC Park Advocates, told the Journal that he wasn’t sure if Taylor had lobbied her billionaire boyfriend strongly enough on the issue.
“If anyone has influence over the one person who could change things, it would be her,” Croft said. “But Bloomberg has shown us time and time again: He does not want to fund parks.”
A spokesperson for the mayor told the newspaper that his administration has made “historic investments” in public parks resulting in 850 acres of new parkland. Sources told the newspaper that Bloomberg had also invested his own wealth in helping the trust for the Park. [WSJ] – Hiten Samtani